The End of Scarcity #7: Kanye West

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In the age of digital streaming music, entire discographies are at your fingertips but the concept of the rarity is on its last legs. The End of Scarcity is a feature that attempts to spotlight the deep cuts from big names that can’t be found on Spotify or bought on iTunes. Demos, B-Sides, Covers, whatever — things that require a close searching. Today: The man they call Yeezy.

Kanye West must have hundreds of unreleased or half-finished tracks. As a prolific perfectionist with a reputation to uphold and a new edict every album, I have to imagine he has a secret encrypted hard drive with a folder labeled “unused songs” locked in a marble safe in the West household. Reportedly, his new, forthcoming, unnamed album is done, but few have had the chance to hear it. It’s just sitting as some files somewhere, either awaiting final touches or instant release.

A good example of how long he holds onto stuff is “Home,” from his 2001 demo (A previous Scarcity spotlight artist was also trying to get attention with a demo that year). If the words sound familiar, it’s because this song eventually becomes “Homecoming” from 2007’s Graduation. A full 6 years of simmering!

It’s fun to compare his flow on both versions, how “Homecoming” sounds effortless and sleek while the words come with a melody. Those first couple of bars on the original are especially awkward and stagger out of Kanye’s pre-wire mouth. It’s also fun to note John Legend on the hook, before he was a star himself, who would later be replaced by Chris Martin. Oh well.

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